Social movements

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Lecture on social movement theory. Answers your basic questions about what social movements are, why social researchers care about studying social movements, and how that is commonly done.

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Social movements

  1. 1. Social movements Adrienne Sörbom Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research Stockholm University Stockholm School of Economics [email_address]
  2. 2. <ul><li>A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies. </li></ul><ul><li>Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries? </li></ul><ul><li>Two things result from this fact: </li></ul><ul><li>I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power. </li></ul><ul><li>II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a manifesto of the party itself. </li></ul>
  3. 6. What is interesting about social movements? ? <ul><li>Force in the political landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Significant sign of contemporary societal tensions </li></ul><ul><li>Historical fact that social movements are important </li></ul><ul><li>Which movements will we in 30 years time claim where the significant ones? </li></ul><ul><li>The ones most rejected? </li></ul>
  4. 9. What is interesting about social movements? ? <ul><li>Force in the political landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Significant sign of contemporary societal tensions </li></ul><ul><li>Historical fact that social movements are important </li></ul><ul><li>Which movements will we in 30 years time claim where the significant ones? </li></ul><ul><li>The ones most rejected? </li></ul>
  5. 10. What is a social movement <ul><li>Collective behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Organized </li></ul><ul><li>Common basic ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Solidarity </li></ul><ul><li>Conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Duration over time </li></ul><ul><li>“ Social movements may be defined as informal networks, based on shared beliefs and solidarity, which mobilize about conflictual issues, trough the frequent use of various forms of protest” (della Porta & Diani 1996:14–15). </li></ul>
  6. 11. Contentious politics outside of parliaments <ul><li>Protest involved. </li></ul><ul><li>Contention. </li></ul><ul><li>More or less organized. (Demostration vs riots) </li></ul><ul><li>A movement is a movement. Not an organization. </li></ul><ul><li>A true network is not organized. </li></ul><ul><li>But organizations may be parts of a social movement. </li></ul><ul><li>Always positive? </li></ul>
  7. 12. How may we study social movements? <ul><li>Social or political actor </li></ul><ul><li>Frames </li></ul><ul><li>Resource mobilization </li></ul><ul><li>Political opportunity structures </li></ul><ul><li>Sign of the contemporary </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural production </li></ul><ul><li>Identity </li></ul>
  8. 13. Historical perspective <ul><li>Social movements </li></ul><ul><li>New social movements – 1960s and onwards </li></ul>
  9. 14. Mobilizing Structures <ul><li>Those collective vehicles, informal as well as formal, through which people mobilize and engage in collective action. </li></ul><ul><li>To understand social movements one has to study the SMO:s. </li></ul><ul><li>What happens withing the ”movement industry”? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the role of ”movement entrepreneurs”? </li></ul><ul><li>Trying to normalize social movements. </li></ul>
  10. 15. Political opportunity structures <ul><li>Popular access to the political system </li></ul><ul><li>Divisions within the elite </li></ul><ul><li>The availability of elite allies </li></ul><ul><li>State repression </li></ul><ul><li>(McAdam 2004:27) </li></ul>
  11. 16. Frames <ul><li>A concept that underscores the importance of interpretations for understanding why people are participating in social movement activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Frames are constructed and diffused. </li></ul><ul><li>Frames are needed in order to take action; knowing what to do. </li></ul><ul><li>Frame alignment: frame bridging, frame amplification, frame extension, frame transformation. </li></ul>
  12. 17. Political process theory <ul><li>Emphasizes the role of political opportunities, mobilizing structures, and framing processes, along with protest cycles and contentious repertoires. </li></ul><ul><li>PPT focuses on the interaction between movement attributes, such as organizational structure, and the broader economic and political context. </li></ul><ul><li>Critics argue that PPT is too structural and invariant – there is much more to movements than this perspective is able to consider. </li></ul>
  13. 18. Identity paradigm <ul><li>The construction of collective identity is key to understand the social movement </li></ul><ul><li>The collective identity is not only significant for a specific movement, but also for the society in which the movement develops </li></ul><ul><li>Labor movement, European welfare state, social constructivsm </li></ul>
  14. 19. Alberto Melucci <ul><li>social movements are based on solidarity </li></ul><ul><li>social movements are carriers of a conflict </li></ul><ul><li>social movements transgress the limits of the system in which action occurs </li></ul><ul><li>(Alberto Melucci 1985:795). </li></ul>
  15. 20. Collective identity “ Collective identity is an interactive and shared definition produced by a number of individuals (or groups) concerning the orientations of their action and field of opportunities and constraints in which such action is to take place. By ‘interactive’ and ‘shared’ I mean that these elements are constructed and negotiated through a recurrent process of activation of the relations that bind actors together” (Melucci 1996:70).
  16. 21. New social movements <ul><li>Movements are new because society has changed. </li></ul><ul><li>Complex society. </li></ul><ul><li>Not one single movement – one identity. </li></ul><ul><li>New interests – compared to the labor movement. </li></ul><ul><li>Risks, personal autonomy, unmask power relations. </li></ul><ul><li>Symbolic challenge as political mean. </li></ul>
  17. 22. What does movements do? <ul><li>” Movements questions society on something else: who decides on codes, who establishes rules of normality, what is the space for difference? ” </li></ul><ul><li>(Melucci 1985:810) </li></ul>
  18. 23. Cognitive approach <ul><li>Ron Eyerman and Andrew Jamison </li></ul><ul><li>A social movement is defined as a: “cognitive territory, new conceptual space that is filled by a dynamic interaction between different groups and organizations. It is through tensions between different organizations over defining and acting in that conceptual space that the temporary identity of a social movement is formed”. ( Eyerman and Jamison 1991: 55). </li></ul>
  19. 24. How do the perspectives relate to each other? <ul><li>Resource mobilization, political opportunity structures and frames have been intergrated into one main perspective: political process perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>These are to be seen as three analytical aspects that together constitute the basis for understanding social movements. </li></ul><ul><li>Is it possible to use these for talking about social movements from an identity perspective? Framing and mobilization structures? </li></ul>

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